Are you looking to buy in a community that has Home Owners Association Rules? Know what you’re getting into
Home Owners Association -the basic rules
Both adult communities and condos frequently have what’s called a Home Owners Association. The HOA is responsible for keeping the community running. The maintenance of the grounds, the recreation facilities and the common facilities don’t magically take care of themselves. Someone has to mange the community. And the basic rule is, the nicer the amenities, the more expensive the monthly fee to pay for all of this. Sometimes these monthly fees can be a sizable percentage of your housing expenses. In fact, we’ve seen fees in the Monmouth / Ocean county area that can run as high as almost $1,600 per month. Conversely, there are communities where the fees can be as low as $9 per month. Our advise is before you sign a contract to purchase a home in a community with an HOA, you should understand exactly what you’re getting for your money.
In most cases, HOAs maintain the common areas of the community. Landscaping, possibly a recreation Center or possibly a pool. And, some of the higher-end complexes have concierge’s, 24-hour security, gyms and spas. In addition, some even offer on site 24-hour nursing services. Most HOAs offer snow removal and grass cutting. There’s no solid rule as It can be anywhere in between those two extremes. And again, the nicer the amenities, the higher the monthly cost.
Exterior Maintenance of the Buildings
If the community consists of condominiums, or connected homes, the association typically owns and maintains the exterior of the building. As a result, the owner is responsible for everything inside. However, if the community consists of detached single-family homes, the homeowner (almost always) is responsible for the building and all maintenance and repairs.
A few of the condo associations also supply basic cable TV as part of the HOA fees. Others offer maintenance contracts on the HVAC systems and appliances.
Quite often, HOAs charge a one-time fee to join the association when you initially purchase. This practice is more prevalent in active adult communities, but it may change over time. Check with your Realtor to see if this would apply in the community you’re looking at. And if there is a fee, how much?
Rules and Regulations
Typically, the association’s have rules and regulations. The rules and regulations are designed to keep everything consistent. The goal is to have all of the homes appear similar and more appealing. Consequently, this should keep the home values up. Some associations will dictate what color you’ll need to paint your front door. And the rules and regulations can state what style of windows you are allowed, in addition to the garage doors. The HOA can tell you whether or not you’re allowed to have a fence in the backyard, or if you can park a boat or an RV in your driveway. And if you don’t comply, they’re able to levy fines. In addition, if funds are needed for major repairs, the HOA also is able to levy a special assessment .
So before buying a home that comes with an HOA as part of the package, do your research. Look at the financials to make sure that the HOA is financially stable. If you need assistance, consult with your real estate attorney. Ask your Realtor how often the dues have increased over the past few years. And be aware of what is the association”s responsibility and what would be yours.
Most important, understand the rules before you buy.
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